What I’ve Learned, So Far, in the Time of COVID-19

I may be older now than the little one pictured above, but I was once that young. Despite the differences in our ages, she and I are both learning. Hopefully, she is still learning about the wonders of the outdoors. The things I’m learning I hope she never has the chance of learning.

This last weekend I attended a writing workshop on the literary essay. It was time well spent. Writing prompts were available in huge numbers, and the words “pandemic” and “quarantine” came up more than once.

One more event via Zoom. The word “together” was used in opening statements from the facilitator. One participant spoke up to say that showing up on each other’s computer screens did not constitute “together.” I have to agree with her. At coffee and lunch breaks, we could not interact and get to know each other.

At one point, our facilitator noted that list-making was one way to prompt the mind as you start writing. I chose to list some things I’ve learned during this pandemic. I’m sure my list will continue to grow, and as it does, I’ll share it with you.

What I’ve Learned So Far

  • Sadly, it is possible for state governments to take the lead in managing a pandemic, especially when there is no master plan at the federal level.
  • You can purchase a new car on December 31, 2019, and drive it only once each week or two.
  • I can read five books at a time. Maybe more — we’re not out of the woods yet in my county in Oregon.
  • It is possible to get along without replacing the overhead light fixture in your laundry room if it’s not possible to go to Home Depot to get a replacement. 
  • Online grocery shopping is not so bad. I may like it so well that when we’re past this quarantine I’ll continue on.
  • Someone else is capable of selecting my produce and meat while at the same time pleasing me. Of course, I knew Bob could do this but he can’t go to the grocery either.
  • We’re accomplishing a great deal that wouldn’t have gotten done if we hadn’t been forced to slow down and stay home.
  • Now I appreciate how much I miss our participation in the music culture of Portland.
  • Worship continues on in this pandemic world thanks to today’s technology in live-streaming, Zoom, and many other methods. 
  • There are things I can live without.
  • I can go much longer than I thought without a haircut. Currently, I’m at month three today.
  • Sadly, I’ve learned how quickly a virus can increase the population in hospitals and the number of deaths in a city or state or country.
  • And I’ve learned how many people ignore the boundaries and guidelines for protecting each other against a virus. We are all in this together, aren’t we?

What Is There Still to Learn?

I don’t know for certain, but I can assure you I believe there will be something. And when I find out, it will be time to update the above list and I will.

And What Have You Learned, My Friend?

Stop below and leave one, or two, or more things you’ve learned thus far in the pandemic. If you’d like to be anonymous, email them to me via my Contact Page.

And a message from Mr. Rogers in honor of all those working on the front lines of this pandemic, whether nurse, doctor, maintenance and janitorial staff, cafeteria workers in hospitals, ambulance drivers, and first responders, and volunteers working food banks and in other areas.

Mr. Rogers, Fred Rogers, helpers, frontline in pandemic, remember


Featured Image Attribution: Photo by John Wilhelm

13 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned, So Far, in the Time of COVID-19

  1. Great post, Sherrey. Some things I’ve learned: I feel things more intensely than I realized, self-care and protecting my mental health is more important than I ever considered, and keeping a well-stocked pantry and freezer pays off.

    1. Linda, to receive your words “[g]reat post” brought much joy to my heart. Thank you! I understand the intensity with which we are feeling things and the need for protecting ourselves, especially our mental health, is so very important. In reading your new book, I was thinking of you, your garden, and your canning and freezing. Here’s to community gardens and faithful gardeners.

  2. Sherrey, we have much in common! I too have been surprisingly happy with online grocery shopping, especially since we no longer have to wait two weeks between order and delivery and things are a bit more available than they were a month ago. My hair only bothers me when I look in a mirror or have a Zoom call, so I try to not do either of those very often. And to your last point, we don’t leave the house without wearing masks; it’s difficult to have kind thoughts toward the many people who refuse to wear them, especially those who boast about “their rights.” What about mine, and yours? But I’m not giving up my daily walk—it’s what keeps me from going stir crazy from being inside so much. Love the Mr. Roger’s quote!

    1. Yes, Candace, the first few weeks of online grocery shopping was fraught with waiting for a decent pickup time and dealing with the “out of stock” label. But in just the last few weeks much has improved. Funny, you and I seem to be bothered with hair at the same times. This Saturday will be the first time we’ve seen our son and his wife since the stay at home order was issued. I can’t wait to receive their comments! And I am in 100% agreement with your words on mask wearing and “rights.” Thanks for stopping by today.

  3. I’ve learned that binge watching “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu isn’t a bad way to spend evenings alone. The series is an impressive statement on strong women triumphing over misogyny and a patriarchal system of power and control where both men and women are complicit. I also learned that finishing my memoir, ‘A Woman Alone,’ leads to this question: do I publish now or wait until the ‘noise’ has subsided?

    1. Hello Susan! I remember watching “The Handmaid’sTale” one weekend when it first came out. Bob was away, and I was home alone. There were scenes I could hardly bear watching, and at times my tears flowed. But I was encouraged by what strong women could do, and still am. Congrats on finishing ‘A Woman Alone.’ The question facing you is a difficult one. I am certain, having read your books, it won’t matter to me when you publish, I’m ready to buy my copy! Wish I could speak for the rest of the reading world! My best as you prepare to publish and launch.

  4. Sherry,
    Adding to some of the list of things you have learned, that I too have experienced; like the online shopping ease, worship continuing via the internet and things I can live without, I can add these “things” I have discovered.
    1. There are some things more important than the physical perplexities in life.: the spiritual (the way we view life and our problems).
    2. When it comes to finding answers to perplexing problems, working within is more important and difficult than physical labor..
    3. The scriptures , plus personal revelation, help me find answers as the Holy Spirit brings them to my remembrance.
    4. Immersing myself in His Word, (“wells of living water”). instead of just dipping in my toes as in the past, has brought untold dividends.
    5. I now know what it means to be “born again” not only of the water but of the spirit.
    6. I will never take my church and temple worship for granted again.
    7. Faith in Christ is what strengthens me to overcome the flesh.
    8. When I pray to know what my weakness is, Jesus reveals it to me.
    9. . All my sins are tied to lack of charity, the pure love of Christ, which is my weakness..
    10. When I repent of a particular sin tied to lack of charity and obey He gives me more.
    11. Fear of the unknown is a tool of Satan to keep me from progressing.
    12. I am relearning the art of gardening and my vegetable garden is growing.
    13. I can do more than I thought in the past. That is, with my stronger faith in Christ I do not allow the weakness of this old body keep me from the things I need to do but was too lazy to do and used it as an excuse not to do it. If that makes sense.:)
    14. As I do more I am more able.
    15..I can take time for myself and enjoy watching an “Encourage TV movie” on YouTube..

  5. Your post is wonderful — and the comments, icing on the cake.

    Before the pandemic struck, I knew I had a deep faith in God, but this global crisis tested it. Although this is a tedious time and I grieve especially for families who have lost loved ones, I personally have peace and experience joy. Isaiah 26:3 goes through my mind occasionally: “Thou wilt keep him/her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Maybe I’ll get sick, but maybe I won’t. I’ll hope for the best!

    Something else: I can continue to give to those in need, our city’s rescue missions, as I’ve been doing. I’m continuing with ZOOM: writers’ club, Pilates classes, and church pre-school teachers. I’m beginning a book by Jennifer Weiner via Overdrive, our library’s answer to filling our needs digitally until the branches are open again. I forget the title, but if it’s any good, I’ll let you know.

    Thanks again for this upbeat post: Mr. Rogers always encourages. And, you, thanks for bringing us together here and also for sharing my post today. 🙂

    1. Marian, thanks for taking the time to share your learning experiences here. Like you, I’ve aways known I have a strong faith and it has been tested before, but not like this. The verse that has resounded in my soul and heart is found in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The words, “not to harm you” and “plans to give you hope and a future” reverberate with every reading that I am His Child and He will take care of me. Like you, I may get sick, and I may not. I’ll join you in hoping for the best.

      Thank goodness for Zoom. So many things have continued as a result of its services. And the libraries and their digital lending have kept many minds sane. I borrow quite a few books from Overdrive. So convenient.

      Tell Cliff hello from us and I especially liked his first “style” job! Thanks for being here today. You’re always a joy to visit with.

  6. What a timely and inspirational post, Sherrey. I love your list. I have felt all along that something good will come from this Pandemic, despite the tragedy of so many deaths. As always, God’s presence tells me that all will be well in time. I’m sequestered anyway due to health issues but I see so many examples of blessings—families slowing down and nurturing family bonds, people stepping up to help others, finding my own sense of balance with solitude. I realize I’m one of the lucky ones with a roof over my head, plenty of food (via online shopping that gets delivered to my door.) My family is safe and well. And I agree, we can live with much less than we think. Sending virtual hugs.

    1. Kathy, dear friend, thanks for stopping by today. I was thinking of you as I wrote a lot of this post and wondered how things were going for your. This weekend’s workshop gave me the opportunity to also write a bit about the last four plus years of my life with lessened mobility and still struggling to gain it back. You and I have traveled a path together for quite a lot of that time. You are a treasure God-given to me, I believe. The list you’ve shared is filled with such goodness and thoughtfulness for others. Part of that’s just you, and part of it is your nursing background. We too think of how lucky we are–family all well, even Bob’s 93 year old sister; a roof and shelter; plenty of food; both of us with touchy immune systems but still healthy as a couple of horses. What more can we ask for? God loves us and in Him we have faith and trust. Sending back virtual hugs!

  7. Hi Sherry. I’ve learned that I’ve taken certain things for granted–things I never thought I’d have to do without, like my sunny, cost-free library writing room. I reflected on this in my recent blog post about what we miss most during quarantine. From a writing workshop viewpoint, your list is powerful because of the details you include. The “small” things have turned out to be big things, haven’t they? Stay well and keep writing!

    1. Hi Evelyn. Nice to have you visit. I appreciated your cost-free library writing room as I read that post. My husband built me a writing studio in our backyard three years ago. One he designed himself. Chronic back pain since a fall in 2016 led to surgery a year ago (March 2019), and recovery has added to the hindrance of getting through the path to the studio. I look out our bedroom window and wish for an easy, stable path to follow. Sigh…Yes, the small things have turned out big, and they are different for each of us. Here’s to getting to our writing spaces. Stay well, stay safe!

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